My (Biggest) Struggle of being an Indian Girl

If you’ve kept up with Jointly at all in the past almost two years (ahh!), you probably know by now that one of my favorite things to write, discuss, and vent about is being Indian. In most cases I like to joke (but never exaggerate) about what it’s like to be an Indian girl, but today I want to be totally honest and share with all of you, my biggest struggle as an Indian girl.

I’ve always known my biggest pain point with my ethnicity, but the full extent of it didn’t really hit me until I finished Mindy Kaling’s latest book, Why Not Me. The number one reason I struggle with being Indian is because Indian culture prohibits me from being 100% real with all of you. I always think about my goals as a writer and how I can further refine my voice and skill only to realize that I can’t really, because I’m Indian.

Now, before going any further, I would like to caveat that this post is based solely on my personal experience and feelings. Additionally, I would like to make it undeniably clear that I love being Indian and could not imagine my life in any other way. Okay? Okay, moving on…

I feel that, as an Indian woman, I have a certain image to maintain. I should conduct my life with the perfect amount of grace, respect and reservation. I should share little and keep my personal life, especially the portion of it grandparents may frown upon, personal. And to a certain extent, I totally agree with this. I am all for grace and you probably can’t find a girl who loves and respects people (who deserve it), more than I do. But not sharing…I’m sure you can see how that would hold me back as a writer.

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                          Indian girls should be all shy and shit

As I got deeper and deeper into Mindy’s stories, I couldn’t help but go a little bug-eyed as I read about her love life, how she enjoys filming sex scenes and her excessive drinking (and McDonald’s eating). I was shocked but inspired and could feel my already present admiration for her grow as I flipped each page. She is real, I thought. I want to be real too.

And I try to be. I really do. I’m sure you can tell from some of my writing. But there are certain personal topics I avoid completely, as I know my audience. But I’m getting to the point where I’m old enough to not care what other people think. I’ve been raised well and I know right from wrong and appropriate from inappropriate. I mean…it’s not like I want to be a lingerie model. Just a good writer. If you want to be a lingerie model (which I would also totally support, to each their own), and this post inspires you to do so, please do not tell your strict Indian parents that I gave you the idea. If you need someone to blame, blame Mindy.

Love,

K

P.S. For all Indians reading this and preparing to judge me for the unfiltered stories I am to tell in the future, just know – I heard young adults in India are way worse.

The (Unexaggerated) Struggles of an Indian Girl

Hey there!

Hope you guys are having an amazing start to the week! I’m feeling rather chipper despite my lack of sleep, my scattered mind (let’s not talk about how many assignments I almost didn’t have completed today), and my body aches from sleeping with too many pillows.

So I thought I’d do a little something fun for you guys today. If you follow my personal blog, you may remember me sharing a tid bit of my life in a post titled, The (Unexaggerated) Struggles of an Indian Girl  (I’ve linked to it here in case you missed out). But, let me tell ya. As an Indian girl, the struggles are too real and endless. So, I’ve decided to create a Part II, to allow you guys to better understand A and I and the struggle bus that we often ride as being Indian girls.

So, here we go.

1. The creepy Facebook messages

As an Indian girl, you have to expect and know how to deal with strangely worded and “flirtatious” Facebook messages from Indian men. My personal favorites have included, “Hi, I like your friendship” and another one where Rajanth told me I’m beautiful enough to be a Bollywood actress. Well, thanks Rajanth, how did you know that was my life long dream (but really though).

2. Raisins

Okay, I don’t like raisins. Like what are these weird, tiny, shriveled up things? And for some reason, Indian people love to put raisins in everything. I don’t want raisins in my halwa and kheer (Indian desserts that you should definitely try if you haven’t), it ruins it! And most of all…I don’t want raisins in my rice! What ever possessed someone to try to put raisins in rice…I don’t know. But raisins are only edible when they are coated in chocolate.

3. The many cultures and languages of India

One would think that being a part of a country means a sense of unity and community among states. Well, not in India. In fact, we all make fun of people from other states. Don’t even get me started of the Punjabi and Gujarati feud. And the languages. According to The Hindustan Times (yes, I researched for you), there are 780 different languages spoken in India. Seven hundred and eighty. Like…why? This takes away some of the fun of being from a foreign country because half the time when my friends and I are trying to talk about the girl getting down in the club, we can’t even communicate. I say something in Hindi, I get a response in Gujrati. Like…girl…what. Are. You. Saying.

4. The stare down

If you’re Indian, you know all too well that every single brown person you see will stare you down. This isn’t even a friendly, oh, we’re all brothers and sisters stare. This is a do I know you stare. And if the answer is no, then it becomes a who the eff are you and why don’t I know you? stare. Because Indians just assume that they know every other Indian and if they don’t then something is wrong with you (the person they don’t know). Or…hmm…maybe guys, you just don’t know them because there are over 2 million of us in this country. Stop staring at me.

5. All up in your love life

My god, where do I even begin? As an Indian, your love life is everyone’s business. Your friends, everyone at your school, everyone that anyone at your school knows, and, of course, your family. I think people know the updates on my love life before I even do. My absolute favorite instance of this is my Dadi (who I love very much but our conversations always make the best stories). Every time I see my dadi, she “whispers” to me, “Acha, koi boyfriend hai?” (translation: “So, is there any boyfriend?”) Whisper is in quotation marks because she does not whisper. So unless I want the entire party to know about my love life…no Dadi, koi boyfriend nahi hai (translation: no Dadi, there is no boyfriend). I then see a little flicker of panic in her eyes, but then she kindly reassures me that it’s okay to focus on my studies. She then proceeds to hold me hostage and ask me questions about my cousin’s love lives. Whoops, sorry S & M.

Speaking of Dadis, let me share another great story with you. Dadi’s oldest sister (who is the cutest old lady ever) didn’t even bother asking me “koi boyfriend hai”, when I was in India this past December. Instead, during our family photo shoot, she sneakily tried to get everyone to take solo photos of just me to send to the handsome Punjabi man from Amritsar who is now a doctor in London. Wait. Let me fix my hair and reapply my eyeliner because…YES! Please send the good-looking doctor in London my photographs. S Daddy was NOT pleased and did not let this happen. But hey, I’m open to all possibilities.

6. Indian clothes for women

Okay, last time I focused my frustrations on just saris (the 9 yards of fabric we, as Indian women, are supposed to be born knowing how to tie around ourselves). But really, the picture is much bigger than this. With A’s wedding right around the corner, I’m starting to panic about the tiny blouses I’ll be having to wear. Honestly WHO can look good in those aside from actresses who make a CAREER out of looking good. I simply cannot axe wine, Chipotle, or Firecakes out of my diet. I’ve tried and I’ve failed. But I’m expected to look like this….

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Annnnd…cue the stress eating.

To my Indian ladies, props for staying sane through all of this.

Lots of love,

K